Golden sandy beaches, beautiful clear waters and isolated locations combine to make Scotland one of Europe’s top surfing destinations. Surrounded by Atlantic and North Sea swells throughout the year, you are guaranteed to catch some great waves.
Scotland is the perfect place for a beach break. From the northerly tip of the Scottish Mainland to the long, varied and sheltered coastlines of the east coast, surf’s up all over Scotland!
Where to surf
There are a few outstanding locations on the Scottish surf scene, frequented by all types of surfing enthusiasts, from complete beginners to wave-riding professionals. If you are looking to rent equipment, surf schools will provide you with everything you will need including wetsuits and boards.
Head to Tiree and explore the sunny, mild climate of the Inner Hebrides, with waves suitable for all abilities. A number of companies offer surfboard hire as well as equipment delivery and uplift to the beach. The isle is also a fantastic location for windsurfing, due to the extremely high offshore winds.
The west coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides offers surfers a thrilling day out and is one of the best surfing destinations in the UK. Some of the best and most consistent surf in Europe can be found around Lewis and the clear, safe waters and beautiful white sands make it an extraordinary location for any surfer.
For those new to surfing, why not start with a surf lesson from Coast to Coast at Belhaven Bay in Dunbar, where you’ll be able to take lessons from experienced instructors who are on hand to help you master the basics. The nearby Pease Bay is also a favourite among local surfers and is just a short trip from Edinburgh, situated between East Lothian and Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders.
Why not learn to pop-up at the stunning beach at Coldingham Bay with St Vedas Surf Shop? Improve your techniques in the safe conditions and fuel up for day on the water at the shop’s licenced restaurant.
You can also explore Scotland’s coasts at your own pace by doing a spot of paddleboarding; a great way to introduce yourself to the world of watersports.
Travel north to the coastal town of Thurso, and you will find some of the best waves in Europe. This world- famous surfing spot is graced by huge north-west swells and overhead waves and is definitely suited to the more experienced surfer. It attracts crowds of spectators and surfers on good swells.
The rugged shoreline along Caithness’ northern coast produces big, fast powerful breaks which have been compared to those found in Hawaii.
Surfing on the Isle of Lewis
Events and festivals
There are many local competitions, national events and surfing festivals taking place throughout the year, where surfers all abilities can show off their skills, or you can sit and be amazed by the talent of the Scottish surf teams.
Thurso’s world-class surfing not only attracts a great number of surfers from around the globe, but also hosts some of the most prestigious surfing contests in the UK and Europe, including the Thurso Surf Festival and the Scottish Surf Championships.
At Belhaven Bay, Coast to Coast Surf School host several events throughout the year including the Scottish Lowland Longboard Championship and the Surf Paddle Sprint, where everyone can get involved. Watch the experts take to the waves at the Gathering of the Clans, Scotland’s biggest team surfing competition.
Browse below for surfing schools and surf shops in Scotland.